Thursday, April 23, 2009

Transversing England

For the past 3 days, work has brought me to Sunderland, a 4-hour train ride away from Central London. Sunderland is a city in Tyne and Wear, England. Sunderland is a metropolitan county in North East England and consists of the five metropolitan boroughs of South Tyneside, North Tyneside, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead and of course, the City of Sunderland.

I guess the male population in Singapore will be more familar with Newcastle as it is quite a popular soccer club in the English Premier League. It is indeed odd to have my brother quite excited, learning I am going to Manchester or Newcastle for work. I assure you, there isn't a whiff of soccer during any of my work trips. I did however, did some spots of shopping in these two cities, when I have some time to spare The shopping is much less hassled than in London.

Although the other members of the research team told of the unbearable weather conditions in Sunderland, I was surprisingly blessed with summer-like conditions and sunshine. From Sunderland, you get a great view of the North Sea and it was quite a breath-taking view from inside the car. My local host mentioned you might die of hypothermia if you even try to dip your toe into the freezing North Sea, though.

Now, I am on my train back to Central London. The train has complimentary internet on board - whee!

Off-peak trains are great, with many seats available to choose from.

My companions for the 4-hour train ride: Water, kick-ass chocolate muffin and my current book-of-the-week.

I have another stash from Amazon waiting for me at home. Ordering books online in Amazon UK is just.. well amazingly cheap and convenient.

A view of the North Sea from the train

The most kick-ass chocolate muffin from a bakery franchise called Greggs.

I don't think I have seen that franchise in Central London. I have bought chocolate muffins from Marks and Spencers, Sainsbury and other bakeries. This one hits the spot best. Its official name is boringly known as the "Triple Chocolate Muffin". Somehow, the bunch of innocuous chocolate muffins screamed at me the first day I walked past with Lizzie to get her morning coffee dosage.

The muffin is chocolate, with a gooey chocolate center and huge, huge chunks of chocolate. Now, this is what I call a chocolate muffin.

All righty, another 3 hours to go before I hit King's Cross. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is apparently filming in Central London right now. Darn, I don't think Book 7 went anywhere near King's Cross. Hmm.


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